Strengthen Yourself

I wrote this a year ago, as a chapter for Wonder, Full. Thought perhaps someone might need it:

“David was suffering in great distress . . . but he strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

You’re a strong person. But times like these can drain you physically, emotionally, and spiritually, until you have nothing left. Standing in the pain of offenses and fears, all you can see are negative possibilities. Your mind runs away thinking about what horrible thing might happen next, and your heart seals itself in a bunker for protection. You function, but you won’t risk being fully open to love, joy, and hope. Cynicism grows from a coping mechanism to a mindset to an identity.

But that’s not who you really are. God is love, and he is light. You’re his child, and therefore, so are you. You don’t have to fight on the turf the enemy has been choosing. Everywhere you go is holy ground. You get to live in, and fight from, God’s presence—from his love, joy, hope, peace, healing, wisdom, and grace.

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men return from battle to find another enemy has taken their families and all they have. They’re so overcome with anguish, the men plan to kill David, because their misery warps their thinking to conclude he must have failed God somehow. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” David didn’t find an angry or distant God. He found a loving God ready to provide him with all he needed to win back his family.

The enemy has lied, saying you’ll be better prepared if you stay focused on protecting yourself from the worst possible scenarios. But you know all that does is overwhelm you with stress and anxiety. Take a moment to strengthen yourself in God. Begin with remembering an invasion of fear and heartache doesn’t mean the enemy is in control, it means God has made more than enough faith, hope, and love available to beat the snot out of him.

You are far more powerful than you’ve realized. You get to overflow all God has been for you into every circumstance. Fear, confusion, despair, anger, self-pity, and bitterness have no room to get in because there’s so much of God’s presence in and around you. Rather than being overwhelmed, you get to overwhelm every situation with peace, joy, and rest. Those are nuclear weapons against the enemy. When you’re at rest in God’s love for you, it’s the enemy who becomes anxious, stressed, and frustrated, not you.

“Our real battles aren’t against flesh and blood, and the weapons we use aren’t physical ones. They are supernaturally powerful truths of God, able to pull down any negative mindset, and recapture every thought that has run wild with the enemy’s lies about who God is for you. In Christ, you will become vengeance against the enemy and all he has done” (2 Corinthians 10.3-6, paraphrase).

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